The man who discovered Chigova at How Mine speaks out

26 Nov, 2023 - 00:11 0 Views
The man who discovered  Chigova at How Mine speaks out Isheunesu Chaka and The late George Chigova

The Sunday News

Lovemore Dube

ISHEUNESU Chaka the man who discovered the late George Chigova has spoken out on the legend’s first days in the game,  describing his turning to football as an accident.

The goalkeeper died in South Africa at the age of 32 last week.

He was buried in Chivhu, Mashonaland East Province on Friday.

Chaka said Chigova was best of friends with his son Shylot who later on played as a right-back for How Mine FC. 

His son was in the club’s developmental structures playing in the Under-13 side.

“George would accompany my son and get to the training ground and sit on the other side and watch others train. He was a quiet boy who would seemingly be minding his own business,” said Chaka.

It was not long before Chigova was asked to guard the goalposts on the other end at training.

For the minutes he was in action, Chigova impressed and appeared to have enjoyed himself too.

“The next day he came on his own and became a member of the club (How Mine) and started  working with others including Simba Sithole, Simon Naphtali, Blessing Ncube and Simon Kasikiri. George was very lazy, he did not like training or heavy training, but we could tell from an early age that he was destined for the top. He had the skill and height, he needed more training in football,” said Chaka.

The coach said as the boy grew older it became clear that he was headed for the big stage.

“He continued to improve and I remember one tournament sponsored by TPA Builders and Merchants, we met Highlanders in the semi-finals. Not just a Highlanders side but one with Joel Ngodzo. We led 2-0 in the Under-16s tournament and we eventually had a penalty shoot-out. He saved the penalty kicks before a packed audience on the outside fields of Barbourfields Stadium.

“Unknown to us there were scouts. The following day Zimbabwe Saints were playing the main game in the main pitch at Barbourfields Stadium against Caps United. We were curtain-raisers and Chigova was outstanding,” said Chaka.

He said about a month later youth coach Rodwell Dhlakama visited the Chigova family at How Mine where the big goalkeeper’s father worked as a driver.

“They wanted to take him to Harare. He was guaranteed of education at Lord Malvern. His mother called me and explained that there were visitors who were talking about taking the boy to Harare. When I arrived I advised the family that he would be safe and would grow up as a player since he had potential. As they say, the rest is history as the boy rose to prominence to play for one of the biggest clubs in the country, Dynamos,” said Chaka.

With the seal of approval from his first coach, the family and Aces Academy then faced How Mine.

“I am not sure what they spoke about but the transfer was blessed and he went to Harare where he became big. I remember him calling me on his first call-up to the national team, it was a big moment for both of us,” said Chaka.

Before moving to the Aces Academy, Chigova attended Mzilikazi High School, a school made popular by an array of great players that went through it from the 1960s to date including Lawrence Phiri, Barry Daka, Adam Maseko, Max Tshuma, Douglas Maneto, Zebron Magorimbo, Adam Ndlovu, Peter Ndlovu, Benjamin Nkonjera, Vusa Nyoni, Stanford Ncube, Johannes Ngodzo, Joel Ngodzo and Simba Rusike.

He used to play at the school but not so much according to one of the coaches Bhekumzana Mpofu.

“He was having challenges with breaking through as boys from Bulawayo tended to play gangster in the school teams. It was difficult to break through if you were not from certain circles among the boys. He showed potential though and we are not surprised he went on to shine later in his career,” said Mpofu.

Mzilikazi High School head Bheki Dube confirmed that indeed Chigova had done his Form One and Two at the school joining an impressive list of students who during or before and after Cuthbert Chiromo’s time as headmaster had shone in football.

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